The First Reading is taken from the prophet Jeremiah, 15:15-21. In the book of Jeremiah, we read God’s call of Jeremiah to be a prophet, a call Jeremiah answered. But we also see that the people of Jeremiah’s day did not want to hear the Word of the Lord, and they were very hard on Jeremiah. In his distress, Jeremiah took his complaint to the Lord, asking for relief. Note that in today’s reading the Lord tells Jeremiah to continue to proclaim God’s message, and that the Lord will protect Jeremiah. In the face of resistance, let us continue to proclaim the message of the Lord, trusting Him to take care of us. In Christ we are safe now and into eternity.
Lord God, like Jeremiah we have been called to be Your messengers in the world, and at times, like Jeremiah, we boldly proclaim Your Word, and, like Jeremiah, at times we are discouraged. Open our ears and hearts to You to hear again Your call to proclaim Your message, and let us trust in Your protection, knowing that in Christ we are safe. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Today’s Psalm, 26, is a call for the LORD to vindicate the Psalmist in the face of those who would persecute and ridicule him. The Psalmist has walked in the way of the Lord, and asks the Lord to take care of him in his need. Notice that the Psalmist is not corrupted by those around him, but he remains close to the Lord. We live in a corrupt, sinful world, but let us remain close to the Lord and receive our righteousness from Jesus.
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word; Curb those who by deceit or sword Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son And bring to nought all He has done. Amen. (LBW #230)
The Second Reading, Romans 12:9-21, is a continuation of last week’s Second Reading. In that reading we were told to be transformed by Christ; in this reading we see how that plays out in our lives. Notice the call to love; the apostle John tells us to love as God has first loved us (see 1 John 4:7-21, esp. vs. 19). We are also warned to stay away from evil because there is real danger in that evil might draw us away from God. As those transformed by Christ, we are to let His life be seen in and through us. Notice that Paul’s urging for the Christian life is exactly how Jesus lived. Let our lives be lives in whom Jesus is seen.
Holy Spirit, so fill us and overflow in us that Jesus is seen in all that we do and say. Draw more and more people to Jesus in faith, hope, and love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Today’s Gospel, Matthew 16:21-28, is a continuation of last week’s Gospel where Peter made the bold proclamation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. In this Gospel Jesus reveals that as the Son of God He will go the way of the cross to redeem us. He also tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him. In picking up our cross the world would say that we are losing our life, but Jesus says that only in His cross is there life; to gain the life the world gives is not real life, only in Jesus do we have real, eternal life. Let us have our lives centered in Jesus, and let us follow Him each day.
Holy Spirit, enable us to pick up the cross to which we are called, and enable us to follow Jesus every day and into eternity because only in Jesus do we have true life. In Jesus we pray. Amen.